Southwest Robotics Group

A friend of mine, Paul and I have been talking for sometime on setting up a robotics club here in the Southwest of Western Australia, anyway nothing has ever eventuated until now.  So to get the ball rolling I put a call up for expression of interest in starting a club on one of our local community portals, anyway I’ve had a good response from the local media.  I’ve done a couple of interviews with the local newspapers and one with with the local radio station this weekend.  Hopefully these will generate a bit of interest.

I’ve started a mailing list to help kick things off (found here).

Java – Intelligent Agents

Well it’s been a while since my last post – Sorry about that, alot happening in my life at the moment and unfortunately robotics have taken a bit of a back seat.  Although it’s taken a back seat it has not been forgotten and during this period I’ve been looking at Intelligent Agents using JADE and more importantly JADEX that sits atop of JADE and provides a BDI Agent  BDI – Belief, Desire, Intention.  Actually I had come across JADE a couple of years ago and dabbled with it a little, but then got busy with my job at the time.  By chance I came across the site again and rekindled my interest and how it can be applied to robotics.

One of the cool thing about JADE is the ability for agents to live in any container on a network and work together, that is talking to other agents that perform a particular job to help them in their individual goals.  Agents can also migrate from container to container.   Think of the possibilities, an agent can be monitoring the hardware platform and detects an abnomily then all agents leave the host before it fails completely, pretty cool stuff.  Also using the LEAP plugin for JADE agents they can run on mobile computing, i.e. small hardware footprint, obviously something cabable of  running a Java VM, but still something with a small Memory/CPU footprint. 

What I can envisage here, is an agent based home control system, with all appliances networked, each with their little helper agents.  E.g. the homecontrol agent talks to the mowerbot system and sets a new goal, “mow the lawn”.  The agent on the mowerbot dutifully makes this it’s primary goal.  So off it goes mowing the lawn until that goal is achieved, using it’s beliefs to help it obtain this goal, the goal could be deemed as complete by the the amount of lawn covered/cut etc. The mowerbot agent also monitors the mowing system, battery is getting low, so the new goal that overrides the current goal is go and get charged, so the Agent could now ask the home control agent to turn on the recharge station  beacon so it can locate it, the agents goal then becomes navigate to the recharge station, once recharged, the prior goal comes back into play and the mowing of the lawn continues.  Or alternately a problem occurs and the mowerbot gets stuck, or has a hardware failure.  The Mowerbot agent then communicated this to the home control agent that inturn notifies the occupier by different plans (i.e. email, phone txt etc) that it’s something needs to be done and intervention is required. 

I’m currently playing with JADE/JADEX and writting a helpdesk system based on these agents to help me in my day to day work.

 Helpdesk Agent System